The purpose of sitting with someone in crisis is not to reduce effects, but to create and maintain a safe place where the individual can play out the process without coming into contact with themselves or others.
Everything is Fine with Me: Make it clear that the whole world may be falling apart for them, but everything is OK with you.
Also, if you're having a bad trip, no you won't die! Things can seem much worse during the trip. Afterwards, they will realize, of course I/they weren't going to die, but during the trip some aspects of reality can disappear, so remember to be reassuring.
Though if they didn't ask if they are going to die, don't go saying, “don't worry, you're not going to die”... That won't be very helpful! Instead, remember, make it clear that no matter what is going on with them, everything is OK with you, you aren't scared for them, etc. If you're really scared for them and show it, they will likely get unnecessarily worried.
- If someone seems to be having a hard time, gently ask them if they would like someone to sit with them. If it seems disturbing to them to have someone sitting with them, have someone nearby keep an eye on them unobtrusively.
- Relate to them in the space they are in. Oftentimes, the thing which isolates people and creates a sense of paranoia or loss is that they are *so far out* of normal awareness that people are trying hard to ground them. Start off instead by trying to just be there for them. Try to see the world through their eyes.
- What different ways can you change setting (noise level, temperature, outside vs. inside, etc.)? A party/rave/concert setting can aggravate a person's state of mind. Consider finding the quietest place if it seems like it will help (taking cues from the experiencer), and ask people to not crowd around. Reassure them the situation is under control, noting those who offer help in case help is needed later. Another example of changing the setting may be turning the lights on/off.
- How can you minimize risk of emotional or physical harm? Remember your concern for how the person is feeling, not concern for the situation (as in "oh my gawd, we've got to do something.")
- Paranoia: If the person doesn't want anyone near them, hang back, turn so you aren't staring at them, but keep an eye on them as discretely as possible. Think about what it would feel like to be in a paranoid state, having some stranger (whether you are or not) follow you around and watch you.
- What objects/activities/distractions might help the person get through a difficult space (toys, animals, music, etc.)?
- No Pressure: Just be with them. Unless there is risk of bodily injury, just make it clear you are there for them if they need anything.
- Touch. Touch can be very powerful, but it can also be quite violating. In general, don't touch them unless they say its OK or they touch you first. If it seems like they might need a hug, ask them. If they are beyond verbal communication, try to be very sensitive to any negative reaction to touch. Try to avoid getting pulled into any sexual contact. Often, holding hands is a very effective and non-threatening way to let someone know you are there if they need you.
- Intensity can come in cycles or waves. It also can work as a system — a movement through transpersonal spaces which can have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don't try to push too hard to move it.
- Not Forever: If they are connected enough to worry about their sanity, assure them that the state is due to a psychoactive and they will return to their 'home' state of mind in time.
- Normal Drug-Induced: Tell them they are experiencing the acute effects of a psychoactive (if you know what, tell them) and tell them that it is normal (although uncommon) to go through spiritual crises and they (like thousands before them) will be fine if they relax and let the substance run its course.
- Breathing: breathe with them. If they are connected enough to be present for assistance, get them to join you in deep, long, full breaths. If they're amenable to it, or really far out and freaking, putting a hand on their belly and saying, "breath from down here", "just keep breathing, you 'got it", can help.
- Relaxing: It can be very very hard to relax in the middle of dying or being pulled apart by demons, but tell them that you are there to make sure nothing happens to their physical body. One of the most important things during really difficult internal processes is to learn to be OK with them happening, to 'relax' one's attempt to stop the experience and just let it happen.
- Getting Meditative: Gently suggesting they try to close their eyes and focus inward can sometimes change the course of their experience.
- Barefeet on the ground: One of the most centering and grounding thing to do is to take off shoes and socks and get your feet directly on the hard ground. Be careful of doing this in toe-dangerous surroundings.
- Eye contact: If the person is not acting paranoid and fearful of you, make sure to include a lot of eye contact.
- Everything is Fine with Me: Make it clear that the whole world may be falling apart for them, but everything is OK with you.
- Healthy process: Crises are a normal part of the human psychological process and one way to engage them is as a process of healing, not a 'problem' to be fixed.